Posted by Tamara
Employers in Missouri, as well as those in all other states of the Union, should take whatever measures are necessary to keep medical information regarding workers in the strictest of confidence. If people do not have a legal right to view such information, then they should not have access to it. Keeping these files locked is the best way to accomplish this task, whether an employer has to utilize one lock or three.
In some circles, the term “two-lock system” is used. It indicates that all confidential information, including medical data, needs to be under protection from unauthorized personnel. This also includes keeping the files protected from visitors to the company.
Though there are not any state or federal laws that address whether or not a lock and key system should be used by employers, there have been quite a few court decisions regarding the matter. In addition, some federal laws have also decreed that some employee information needs to be held in confidential files. The different types of information that should be confidential are an employee’s disability status, medical condition, religion, background, age, race, and credit.
Because of the Americans with Disabilities Act, which was passed into law in 1990, a worker’s disability status cannot be an aspect of any personnel decisions that are made. It stands to reason that if confidential information were kept in a locked file cabinet, supervisors and managers would not have access to it. That would make it very easy for employers to comply with the ADA regulations.
Even those individuals who have some real need to see confidential information should have restricted access.
If employers have questions regarding how they should maintain confidential files, there are some basics that can be followed. To begin, files should not be kept in unlocked file cabinets in offices that have a lock on the door. This method simply does not restrict access in an appropriate manner.
The most effective and popular method is to keep these files in locked file cabinets inside of locked offices or other storage rooms.
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